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Accidental Overdose Remain Leading Cause of Injury Death for Adults Ages 25-64
Moms United to End the War on Drugs Partners are creating events in several cities to bring attention to the need for Naloxone.
August 28, 2012 (San Diego) --  (A New PATH) will join the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), and dozens of organizations in the U.S. and abroad participating in the 12th annual International Overdose Awareness Day on August 31. The day honors and remembers those who have lost their lives to an accidental overdose. The occasion is also an opportunity to educate policymakers and the public about the growing overdose crisis in the United States and abroad – and to offer concrete solutions that save lives.
A vigil will be held in the St. Paul’s Cathedral Courtyard (2728 6th Ave. San Diego, CA 92103) at 7pm. We invite the public to join us as we remember and honor individuals who have lost their lives to overdose, and to the failed war on drugs. This event is part of PATH’s broader Moms United to End the War on Drugs national campaign to end the violence, mass incarceration and accidental overdose deaths that are a result of the failed drug war. Community partner organizations participating include Broken No More, GRASP, NORML Women’s Alliance, FACTS, and ACLU San Diego.  Speakers will include Caroline Stewart, Elon Burns, Lizzy Stewart, Shawn Norton, and Margaret Dooley-Sammuli.
“There is nothing more tragic than young lives being lost unnecessarily, before they have a chance to reach their full potential”, says Gretchen Burns Bergman, Co-Founder of A New PATH and Lead organizer of the Moms United to End the War on Drugs campaign. She continues, “The grief experienced by parents and family members left behind is heightened by the sense of frustration and even rage, that this loss could have been prevented.” 
According to the Centers for Disease Control, fatal drug overdose now ranks as the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S. for adults ages 25-64, surpassing motor-vehicle accidents. Recently, the Stop Overdose Stat Act, a bipartisan bill, was introduced in Congress to help prevent overdose fatalities by supporting community-based overdose prevention programs. Nationally, a number of states have recently passed ‘911 Good Samaritan’ laws, designed to encourage people to call 911 to report an overdose as quickly as possible.
“I am a survivor of accidental overdose. I am lucky that a good samaritan took me to the hospital instead of leaving me unconscious, because of fear of calling the authorities and facing arrest. So many others lose their lives in this senseless way,” said Elon Burns.
Overdose prevention advocates across the country are calling on the U.S. philanthropic community to become more engaged in the effort to raise awareness about overdose prevention. Social media will again be a major channel for information and advocacy in the days leading up to August 31. The public is invited to participate by Tweeting memories of loved ones lost to overdose with the hashtag #OD12 or to display a purple ribbon to signify overdose prevention.
“Social media has been an incredibly powerful tool to help raise awareness about not just the overdose crisis, but the many ways communities all across the world are tackling the problem,” said Meghan Ralston, harm reduction coordinator for the Drug Policy Alliance. Advocates are also urging donations to help support access to naloxone, the overdose reversal drug. For more information, visit www.indiegogo.com/ODawarenessday.
International Overdose Awareness Day, started by the Salvation Army in Australia in 2001, is an opportunity for people around the world to publicly mourn loved ones without guilt or shame. Many participating countries also use this day to send a strong message to people who currently and formerly used drugs that their lives are valued and that no one should ever die from a preventable fatal drug overdose.   

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